Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Thomas Pannone has been suspended 80-games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, the league announced Friday night.
Pannone, 23, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the ninth round of the 2013 June Amateur Draft and remained in the organization until he was traded to the Blue Jays for reliever Joe Smith at last year’s trade deadline.
A favorite among the Let’s Go Tribe staff and readership, Pannone showed a lot of promise as a prospect in recent years, including a 0.00 ERA in 27.2 innings with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats in 2017.
Pannone tested positive for DHMCT, which is either a Diploma in Hotel Management & Catering Technology or a metabolite known as dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, which I swear is a real thing.
Pannone vehemently denies that he knowingly took the drug, taking to Twitter to proclaim his innocence moments after the news broke.
My statement on today's decision by the Office of the Commissioner: pic.twitter.com/T9F2ptON7n— Thomas Pannone Jr (@ThomasPannone) March 16, 2018
Current and former teammates of Pannone’s instantly came his defense, including current Indians prospect Cameron Hill and former Indians prospect and fellow pitcher Justus Sheffield.
The comeback is always stronger than the setback my guy!— Cameron Hill (@CamPrice_) March 16, 2018
Keep pushin forward my guy! I know you gonna come back even stronger! https://t.co/eGyzTbcbII— Justus Sheffield (@Topsheff42) March 16, 2018
As a fan of Pannone’s, I want to believe it truly was an error somewhere along the way. But in the event that he is desperately lying through his teeth to save his reputation, the Indians might have dodged a bullet by shipping him away for a half season of Joe Smith.